ST 2991 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2991 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2991 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

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A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg, where, this week, we had around 36 hours of seasonal temperatures, before the mercury took a nose-dive again, to the point that the high temperature on Monday occurred at 11:00pm.

Today Dada might be showing us that he has a sense of humour with a handful of anagrams, two homophones, but no lurkers in a symmetrical 28 clues.

Candidates for favourite -12a, 7d, and 14d .

Don’t forget to follow BD’s instructions in red at the bottom of the hints!

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, a number of the more difficult clues have been selected and hints provided for them.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.

Some hints follow:


7a Bird, one poking around gobbling crumbs ultimately (7)
Someone or something that pokes around containing (gobbling) the last letter (ultimately) of crumbS.

10a Closet open, used mysteriously to hide cross (9)
An anagram (mysteriously) of OPEN, USED containing (to hide) the letter that represents a cross – perhaps the definition should be closeted.

12a Male billed as an old sailor (5)
A double definition – the first refers to a feathered male.

13a In the outskirts of Leeds, there’s always a fight for good-for-nothings (9)
An archaic synonym of always, A from the clue, and a synonym of fight contained by (in . . . there’s) the first and last letters (outskirts) of LeedS.

15a Spicy sauce, mostly strong is it? (7)
A synonym of strong with the last letter removed (mostly), IS from the clue, and a (BRB verified) abbreviation of a (3,6) term for ‘IT’ – and I hadn’t heard of the sauce either.

18a Fear those spotted behind bovine are dropping back (9)
Spotted cubes after (behind) a type of bovine and ARE from the clue with the last letter deleted (dropping back).

21a Arabian person in attention-seeker? (5)
A synonym of person inserted into (in) a two letter interjection used to attract attention.

25a I’m not sure boy is Italian (7)
An interjection used when hesitating or being uncertain – no, not that one, the other one – and a male’s (boy or man) name.


1d Soft tissue on me thrown over into grave (4,6)
ON from the clue and ME from the clue reversed (thrown over) contained by (into) a type of grave.

3d Capital city in trouble is on the up after support of women (8)
A three letter term for in trouble and IS from the clue all reversed (on the up) and placed after the short form of a female garment used for support.

5d Last seen in canteen I guess, tool brought up for refuse collector (5,3)
The last letter (last seen) in canteeN, I from the clue, a synonym of guess, and a (cutting) tool all reversed (brought up.

7d Where twelve numbers may appear, always (5,3,5)
The illustration says it all.

9d Neighbourly type from somewhere in India installing radio mast for broadcasting (4,9)
Someone or something from an Indian state containing (installing) an anagram (for broadcasting) of RADIO MAST.

16d Serious passage read out (8)
The second homophone (read out) – the first is 6d – of a (marine) passage.

19d I feast beneath the moon (6)
I from the clue, the letter that might represent the moon An element with chemical symbol I is derived from a moon of Jupiter with a verbal synonym of feast after (beneath).

22d Book already commencing, the story starts (4)
The initial letters (starts) of four words in the clue.

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As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment.

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A random selection today.  Hands up all those who remember the tag line ‘The weekend starts here‘ used by Ready Steady Go on a Friday evening in the early/middle ’60s.  I am not sure why, but YouTube kept ‘offering’ me this young lady drummer, named Sina, playing Wipe Out (the first theme of said programme) with guitar help from her Dad:


54 comments on “ST 2991 (Hints)

  1. Dada seems to have got the difficult balancing act of producing a prize puzzle just right these days. Thanks to him and Senf for the review. My favourite clue was 12a.

    I think that the definition of 19d is just the first word.

  2. I would say that this puzzle was the most accessible Sunday puzzle since Dada took over the slot.

    Thanks to Senf and Dada 1.5*/4*

  3. 2.5*/4*. Excellent! Just right for a Sunday morning. My biggest hold-up was in parsing my answer to 20d but I got there in the end. I would have stretched above 4* for enjoyment except for the nebulous boy.

    My top two were 13a & 19d.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    1. At the risks of ending up in the NC, I think ‘nebulous’ is the last word I’d used to describe our particular version of that boy

  4. A lovely crossword pitched at just the right level for me. There were plenty of clues which were good but my favourite has to be 1d.

  5. Very enjoyable Sunday fare although, like Senf, I questioned the ending on the definition of 10a and I also thought 20a was a rather weak clue.
    My only hold up came with 4d where I was stupidly fixated on the wrong group of seven and couldn’t see beyond it for quite a while.

    Top places went to 13a & 7d.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the blog. That young lady is an excellent drummer but I’m very grateful that she isn’t my daughter and rehearsing at home!

      1. Can’t make it work in my head but am happy to be proved wrong. Maybe best to wait until after the closing date – haven’t got time to spend on the naughty step today!

  6. Cracking crossword but crackable .
    Had to confirm with my wife re 15A and initially entered the wrong 3 word ending for14D .
    Too difficult to single out a favourite from so many excellent clues .
    Thanks to Dada and Spring cannot be far away in Winnipeg .

  7. It took me ages to get started with this one and having read all the clues I had filled in only three. However, it all began to fall into place quite quickly after that, apart from the NW corner, where I got caught up in the grave (very macabre) in1d. The noise of the penny dropping could be heard above the noise of the church bells. Thank you to Senf and Dada.

  8. Still found this extremely difficult probably right at the extreme of my solving abilities but i did find it very enjoyable even if it did take two sittings and the combined ‘talents’ of me and Mrs B.
    Best clue for me was the last to understand – 19d. Many thx to Gazza for the key.
    Thx to all.

  9. My recollection may be wrong, but I thought that Ready, Steady, Go always started with 5-4-3-2-1 by Manfred Mann, sung by the inimitable Paul Jones.

    1. Unfortunately, perhaps my recollection is the same. Problem is mine seems to be always wrong these days.

  10. As Brian right at the edge of my ability so replacing skirting boards behind schedule. Very enjoyable & probably perfect level for a Sunday.
    Not a technical expert but surely 19d is all a clue should be. As an ex sort-of chemist the penny dropped & solving that clue alone made my morning.
    Thanks to DaDa and Senf for review, needed to parse a couple.

  11. Really enjoyable and a good challenge for a Prize Puzzle. 15a was a bung-in with 19d my last one in. 12a was my favourite from many fine clues, and, as others have said, this felt like just the right balance of difficulty and enjoyment for a Sunday.

    Thanks Dada for the workout and to Senf.

  12. Very slow start but once I got going wondered what the problem had been. Failed to parse 19d. 11a was Fav due to its smooth surface. Thanks Dada and Senf.

  13. Very enjoyable and not too difficult. Lots of good clues including 21a and 25a, but I’ll give top spot to 18d.

  14. I think we are all getting in the swing of new Sunday puzzles. Setter and solver alike.
    I liked 15a although I think of it more as a paste than a sauce. Struggled to parse 5d until Senf came to the rescue. Podium places to 15a 19d and the tittersome 3d.
    Thanks Senf and Dada.
    Anyone else have a JavaScript error when submitting the online version?

  15. Just played the music clip, what a fantastic version of Wipe Out, that girl can certainly drum, her tarradiddles were superb.
    Why don’t they make instrumentals anymore to give the public a break from shouty women singers. My favourite was Pipeline by the Chantays.

  16. Phew, finally a Dada that I could finish, albeit with the aid of Senf’s hints and help from Mr Google. So definitely must have been one of his gentler efforts. Last in was 16d, but a handful went straight in. Still not a great satisfaction level, as I hate to use outside help, but a step forward in the right direction.

  17. Apart from 20d,which is a bung in for me and I’m still not sure why the answer is what it is…a great puzzle.
    I agree that19d is a really slick clue.
    I use 15 a..but l buy it as a paste not a sauce.
    Thanks to all

  18. What a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon in front of the fire after a fruitless morning’s fly fishing. LOI was 4d as I also got fixated on the wrong seven.
    Thanks to Senf and Dada.

  19. Once I got going it all came together quite smoothly. 12a was my favourite.
    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints.
    Pipeline by the Chantays… yes! How about The Ran-dells and Martian Hop?

  20. A perfect post Sunday lunch work out. For me the balance of difficulty & entertainment was spot on. Favourites 1D & 19D 2.5*/4*
    Many thanks to Dada & Senf (for once did not need your hints!)

  21. ****/***. Some neat clues (11&12&17a&7d) but spoiled, IMHO, by 25a&17d. Nevertheless thanks to the setter and Senf.

    1. For someone who is not an expert what is there about 17d that is so bad? To my untutored brain it was backpage clue of the month if not the year..

      1. I liked 25a and only problem with 17d IMO is that it is hoary old 17d of a clue that is getting a bit long in the tooth. (Feel free to redact if I have crossed a line)

          1. You might want to put a knot in your hanky to remember to look at the review in eleven days time

              1. I read the review too which mey well be why I’m less pathetic at getting to grips with Dada.
                Wondered what John Bee meant with his 2nd 17d until I realised it was probably misdirection to avoid the naughty stair.
                Good cup run again for the Lions.

                1. Yes, LROK. If we get Palace at the Den in the next round it will be interesting. At least the TV companies cant avoid showing our game now, we need the money!!
                  Incidentally, I agree that Dada is now pitching these sunday crosswords about right, today was a bitof a bad hair day.

        1. Probably the first time I have seen 17d also. I thought it was quite a ‘neat’ easily solvable double definition (so it didn’t make the cut for a hint).

  22. Not much fun.
    Completed, but the wordplay is too obscure for my small brain, I needed many of Senf’s hints to understand various answers.
    Thanks all, now for Gazza’s NTSPP…

  23. Very enjoyable except I had the last word wrong in 14d so I then got the wrong boy in 27a! Once that was sorted it fell into place. I agree 15a is a paste and I use it a lot (sparingly). Favourite was 7d. Like to get the long clues first if poss to open up the puzzle. Thanks to all who make this such a special blog.

  24. Oh – this really is a ‘just me’ day. Oh dear. :sad:
    I thought it was incredibly difficult – possibly the most difficult crossword that I’ve managed to finish for a long time – husband has just told me that I’ve said exactly that for the last few Sundays.
    It’s taken me a very long time – so long that I’d probably get away with saying how many hours!
    Oh well – you win some – you lose some and today was not my day – I don’t care as I did enjoy it a lot.
    Too many good clues to pick out any in particular so thank you, Dada, for the challenge and thank you Senf for the hints.

  25. Managed to finish two Sundays in a row – hurray! Perhaps I’m finally getting the hang of Dada – or, perhaps more likely, he’s decided to be kind to us. Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed the puzzle, so thanks to Dada and Senf, whose hints I will look at tomorrow, as there were a few answers I didn’t totally understand.

  26. I thought 17d was great. Could be an old one but I don’t recall seeing it. Struggled with 19d. Thought 10a fine as in closet gay (adjective). We seem to be getting a proliferation of “words” at the moment such as the first and last letter of 21a and the first two of 25a and I can’t make my mind up whether I like them or not. Some great clues and Sundays (or in my case Monday mornings) are getting much better. Thanks Dada and also Senf with BD’s and Gazza’s help for explaining 19d. I think I have just about seen the light.

  27. Managed after some hours of trying. Couldn’t get 20d no matter how I tried. No hint for that one alas

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